pic   The holidays are a great time for reflection and preparation for the year to come. Many of us find ourselves asking questions like, “What went well, not so well, where can I improve, and what do I want to achieve in the New Year?” It’s both the perfect opportunity to recognize what you have to be grateful for, and gain clarity on your areas for advancement, or improvement. No one wants to be mediocre, and most people want to seen as the absolute opposite – a valuable asset to the team. Similarly, those looking for new hires want only the very best, hard-working, dedicated, employees. So, how do you make sure you’re one of the treasured team members? Here are 5 ways to make sure you are seen as one of the very best:

  1. Keep Learning.

A strong indicator that someone will avoid the pitfall of becoming mediocre is the degree to which they remain engaged in their own learning. Those who simply stop reading, attending educational events, listening to learning programs, asking questions, tinkering, or being an apprentice, will become mediocre. As the late Jim Rohn famously said, “You don’t get paid by the hour. You get paid for the value you put into the hour. The more valuable you become, the more money you make.” Not only do you make more money, but you get to keep learning and expanding your capabilities.

  1. Self-awareness.

Another way you can avoid becoming mediocre is by learning about yourself. The better you understand your motivational hot buttons, the greater your chances are the land opportunities to do work that is meaningful to you. When the work is meaningful to you, you’ll naturally put more effort in, and produce better results. You also get the benefit of discovering why some people irritate you, while others leave you feeling inspired. As a result you can intentionally create more time for the inspiring ones, less for the toxic ones, and end up with more energy at the end of the day.  As my friend Jamison says, “Find something you don’t dare to hit the snooze alarm for because you can’t wait to go and tackle it!”

  1. Contribution mindset.

Not surprisingly, those who look for ways to contribute, rather than compete with their colleagues, wind up being looked to for leadership. Meanwhile, the competitive bunch scurries like crazy to get to the next rung in the ladder. Just like everyone else, they seek to lead by title, rather than actions. As a result, they wind up being mediocre.

  1. Advocate.

Another way to avoid becoming mediocre is to learn about the ambitions of your colleagues and leadership team. Once you uncover some of their goals, find ways to help them reach success, whether it’s through sending web links, making introductions, or helping them complete a project. My late mentor, Zig Ziglar, had it right with, “You can have anything in life you want, if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.” Want to stand out? Stand up and help them succeed.

  1. Say “Yes.”

Another hallmark of those who avoid mediocrity is their willingness to do what it takes to gain experiences, even if it’s not their job, or they’re not being paid. Saying, “Yes” increases the number of experiences you get to have, and taking the time to reflect on those experiences (see Self-awareness, above) gives you a better understanding of where to spend more time and energy.


Join The Conversation: Where’s your greatest opportunity for growth? How do you ensure you’re not mediocre?


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